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Investigating the Effectiveness of Bilingual Subtitles for Incidental Vocabulary Learning: A Mixed Methods Study

Wang, Andi; (2022) Investigating the Effectiveness of Bilingual Subtitles for Incidental Vocabulary Learning: A Mixed Methods Study. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

Previous studies have shown that watching captioned and subtitled foreign language videos facilitates second language vocabulary learning (e.g., Koolstra & Beentjes, 1999; Montero Perez, Van Den Noortgate, & Desmet, 2013). The majority of studies have focused on the examination of captions (i.e., on-screen text in the same language as the soundtrack) and first language (L1) subtitles (i.e., on-screen text in viewers’ L1). Despite the widespread use of bilingual subtitles (i.e., the simultaneous presentation of captions and L1 subtitles) in certain contexts, empirical evidence demonstrating their potential benefits for incidental vocabulary learning is scarce. In addition, available studies have yielded conflicting findings (e.g., Li, 2016; Lwo & Lin, 2012), questioning the benefits of bilingual subtitles for vocabulary development. These inconclusive findings could be due to learners’ different uses of various sources of input in bilingual subtitles. However, little is known about how learners process subtitled areas or novel words in bilingual subtitles and how learners’ engagement with novel words may relate to their vocabulary gains. This thesis reports a mixed methods study undertaken with 112 Chinese learners of English to investigate: 1) the relative effectiveness of bilingual subtitles for incidental vocabulary learning, compared to captions and L1 subtitles, by using offline tests; 2) learners’ attention allocation to subtitled areas and novel words by using eye-tracking; 3) learners’ awareness and processing strategies for novel words by means of stimulated recall interviews; and 4) the relationship between learners’ engagement with novel words (as measured by eye movements and stimulated recall interviews) and vocabulary learning gains. Overall, the results indicate that bilingual subtitles are less beneficial than captions for recognising word forms, but more beneficial for facilitating meaning knowledge than other subtitling types. When using bilingual subtitles, learners spent more time processing L1 lines and L1 translations of unknown words than English equivalents. The bilingual subtitles group reported less awareness of novel words than the captions group but more than the L1 subtitles group. Moreover, more cases of using L1 translations to check the meanings of novel words were recorded than in the L1 subtitles group. The use of L1 translations seemed to prompt establishing initial form-meaning connections. Additionally, the time spent on English word forms, not L1 translations, facilitated vocabulary learning.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Investigating the Effectiveness of Bilingual Subtitles for Incidental Vocabulary Learning: A Mixed Methods Study
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2022. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10145821
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